New agriculture reform laws death warrant for farmers: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal
- Kejriwal said all the previous governments cheated farmers on their demand for an appropriate price for their crops
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday described farmers as true patriots and alleged that fake cases were being lodged against them in the context of the agitation against three new agriculture reform laws. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader was speaking at a Kisan Mahapanchayat in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh.
He termed these new laws as a “death warrant” for farmers. Kejriwal said the farmers were in a “do or die” battle because they felt the government would hand over their land to corporates and they would become labourers on their own land.
The chief minister said that all the governments in the past 70 years cheated farmers on their demand for an appropriate price for their crops, “but nothing happens after elections”.
He also indicated that farmers had nothing to do with the violence that took place on Republic Day at Red Fort during the farmers' tractor rally.
“What happened at Red Fort on January 26 was organised by them,” he said without mentioning any names.
“People met me thereafter and told (me) that protesters were deliberately diverted from the prescribed route and those who hoisted a flag at Red Fort were their workers. Our farmers can be anything but anti-nationals,” he added.
Kejriwal demanded that fake cases should not be registered against farmers.
He also presented a formula for giving a guarantee to purchase 23 crops at minimum support price (MSP).
Kejriwal said that every day BJP leaders claimed MSP existed and it would remain.
“I challenge Yogiji (UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath) to mention to me one mandi (market) in UP where crops were purchased at MSP,” he said.
The Delhi chief minister also spoke about the issues of sugarcane payment, escalating electricity bills, rising prices of fuel and fertilizers.
He appealed to the gathering to bring a government with clear intentions in the state and solve all their problems.
“Bring a government with clear intentions and farmers would receive the payment before reaching their home after supplying sugarcane to mills,” he said as the crowd hailed him with slogans like “Arvind Kejriwal zindabad (long live Arvind Kejriwal)” and “desh ka neta kaisa ho Arvind Kejriwal jaisa ho (nation's leader should be like Kejriwal)”.
The Aam Aadmi Party has already announced it would contest the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections due in February-March next year.
Kejriwal said he was the first person who contacted Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait after he burst into tears because of the “atrocities” on farmers at the Ghazipur border.
“I was the first person to contact Rakesh Tikait on the phone and made arrangements for drinking water and toilets for the farmers on his appeal,” the AAP chief said.
Referring to the Delhi government’s free electricity scheme, he said, “I was also under tremendous pressure and told that power companies were powerful, therefore, we can't do much to minimise power cuts and providing free electricity. But we did that.”
AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh, local farmer leaders and the party's state president Sabhajeet Singh shared the dais with Kejriwal. Sanjay Singh and Sabhajeet Singh had visited many leaders of khaps (clan-based councils) to mobilise support for the mahapanchayat.
The stage had photographs of former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh, one of the tallest farmer leaders of the country, and the late BKU chief Mahendra Singh Tikait.
Kejriwal ended his speech with the slogan “Chaudhary Charan Singh Amar Rahe”.
He also honoured khap chaudharies (khap leaders) on the stage and sought their blessings.
Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws - Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.